Tag Archives: series

My Ongoing Blog Series You Can Read Today

My Ongoing Blog Series You Can Read Today

There’s plenty of writers on the internet who user their blogging platform to dish out advice on writing or focus on the craft. While that is all well and good, I’ve intentionally chosen to do something a little different with my blog. For several years, among the book updates, pleas for reviews, and general news—I’ve been writing several reoccurring series about all manner of things. Fake swearing, my books, plants, riverboats, history, the list is large and full of interesting things.

In this post, I’ve collected all my ongoing series and have provided links so you can peruse the various categories—I even offer starting suggestions. So, if you’re looking for something a bit different than your standard author-blog content, consider starting with one of these…

Wild Territories

Frequency: When they’re ready
Category: Bell Forging Cycle lore
Current Number of posts:
Three
Start with: Faiths and Creeds of Lovat

It’s always fun to explore the backstory of a series. I love extending some of the lore and legend that surrounds my novels. I’m also a fan of PBS and Marty Stouffer’s Wild America. That all came together for Wild Territories, a series about the extended lore of my books. Currently, there’s only a handful of posts, but with Gleam Upon the Waves coming soon, I’ll have many more on the way.


Garden of Horrors

Frequency: Monthly/Bi-monthly
Category: The natural world is gross
Current Number of posts: Nine
Start with: The Clathrus Archeri

Nature is a wild and weird place, in this series, I take a look at the more unusual bits of the earth’s flora. Generally, it’s pretty gross, sometimes it’s disturbing, but it’s always fascinating to see what sort of bizarre adaptations exist. Sometimes that feeling of disgust can come from the most unexpected places.


Raunch Reviews

Frequency: Monthly
Category: Language
Current Number of posts: Sixteen
Start with: Mork & Mindy/Starsiege: Tribes

The English language is a stupid language. It evolves, steals, shifts and absorbs, and it never looks the same across centuries. Slang is often the driver of this drift. Raunch Reviews is a series about slang, particularly, profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not.


Riverboats! Revolution! Magic!

Frequency: Occasional
Category: History
Current Number of posts: Ten
Start with: A Riverboat’s Menu

Researching history for my big ol’ project Coal Belly has given me insight into bits and bobs of history and the details surrounding riverboats—stuff I never learned in school. In these posts, I share my findings, focusing in on the people or technology that made these vessels so unique and sharing a plethora of photos from dusty old archives.


#NoBadMaps

Frequency: Monthly (for 2019, at least)
Category: Cartography/History
Current Number of posts: Nineteen
Start with: #NoBadMaps

This started as a project to help fantasy indie authors develop their own maps for their books and has grown into something much more. Now, eleven brush sets and several tutorials later #NoBadMaps has become something greater, and it’s exciting to see people using these in their work.


Visual Inspiration

Visual Inspiration

Frequency: Occasional
Category: Art
Current Number of posts: Eleven
Start with: Yuri Shwedoff

I’ve been a graphic designer for nearly two decades now; I’m drawn to visual mediums. Often, I come across an artist’s work, be it paintings, concept art, or digital drawings that enliven me creatively. In this series, I share the work of artists who’s work I have found inspiring, perhaps they’ll inspire you as well.


Watching History

Frequency: Occasional
Category: History
Current Number of posts: One
Start with: Watching History 1

When I was a kid, my favorite TV channel was the History Channel. But in recent year, the History Channel has eschewed history in favor of scripted and reality programming. It’s a bummer. Thankfully, the internet has stepped in. There are all sorts of amazing creatives who run YouTube channels with a focus on making history come alive. In here, I share my favorites.


Lovecraft-Inspired Holiday Gift Guide

Lovecraft-Inspired Holiday Gift Guide

Frequency: Yearly
Category: Cosmic Horror Gifts
Current Number of posts: Five
Start with: The 2019 Lovecraft-Inspired Holiday Gift Guide

For the last six years, I’ve been assembling a highly-curated list of cosmic horror goodies that are perfect for yourself or the cosmic horror fan in your life. Books, Games, Music, Apparel, Housewares and a whole lot more! Loads of goodies worth checking out around the holidays or… at any time of the year, really.


I’m really proud of the work I’ve been doing. It’s been nice to work on blog posts in between writing sessions. Keeps me on my toes, lets me explore different concepts, and I think it makes my books better. Hopefully, you’ll find something entertaining or eye-opening among this list.

Have a question, comment, or want to drop me a line? Leave a comment below, or visit the Contact K. M. Alexander page for a list of handy ways you can reach out.


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Friday Link Pack 11/27/2015

Friday Link Pack 11/27/2015

It’s (Black) Friday (if you live in the US)! That means it’s time to either charge headlong into a frothing sales wasteland or kick back and enjoy my Friday Link Pack, the weekly post covering topics such as writing, art, current events, and random weirdness. Some of these links I mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Do you have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Let’s get to it…

WRITING:

American Dread: Alan Moore And The Racism Of H. P. Lovecraft
In the past, it was easy for me to dismiss Alan Moore as an eccentric, but lately I have come around to respecting him. He’s gotten more succinct in his stances, and I appreciate his approach to topics that would be considered taboo, subjects like racism, sexism, misogyny, and more. I think fiction is the perfect vehicle to explore these issues and allow readers confront their ugly realities. In this article, Bobby Derie examines all of this in relation to Alan Moore’s Lovecraftian series.

Hunter S. Thompson On Outlaws
The PBS Digital Studio (a fine example of why you need to be supporting PBS and your local PBS station) production Blank on Blank has been taking old interviews and animated them. This round it is gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson discussing his time with the Hells Angels.

#Writing More Than Ten Books In A Series And Staying Fresh
Thriller author Toby Neal has written more than ten books in her Lei Crime series and offers some practical advice for those looking to do the same and keeping things both engaging and fresh for readers and themselves.

Loved Girl on a Train? You May Have Read the Wrong Book
Another story about two novels with very similar names. Remember this recently happened with Emily Schultz’s literary fiction novel Joyland and Stephen King’s crime thriller Joyland, and it sparked the blog Spending Stephen Kings Money.

ART:

The Crusades And Lovecraft’s Monsters
In this series, fantasy cartographer and illustrator Robert Altbauer takes Lovecraftian horrors and applies them to a familiar medieval painting aesthetic. It’s hilarious and utterly charming. (I used one of these for today’s header image, but be sure to check out the rest.)

A Giant LED Star Pierces The Floors Of A 4-Story Building In Malaysia
I love neon and LED lights (Bell Forging readers can confirm this) so when I saw this awesome project from artist Jun Hao Ong I had to share it. There’s something about this project that is just so perfect.

Sticks and Stones (2014-Present)
Donna Pinckley takes pictures of interracial couples and places them alongside hateful racist things that had been said to them. The tenderness captured in this photos, combined with the juxtaposed vitriol forces us, the viewer, to confront the hate while facing couples that clearly love one other. As a result, this series serves as the perfect reminder of how far we have to go in society.

RANDOM:

The Hunt for Red October Gifs
Last Thursday I lamented the shortage of gifs from the film, The Hunt for Red October. Thankfully my friend Miguel stepped up, and now the internet is saved with not one… but six high-quality gifs for your use!

Law Enforcement Took More Stuff Than Burglars Did Last Year
Hmmm… who watches the watchmen?

Veronica Belmont On Being Overtaken By A Meme
Nobody knows what it is like when your persona is hijacked by a meme like Veronica Belmont. In this talk at this year’s XOXO Festival Belmont discusses her story, how time means nothing on the internet, and how it can quickly removes context leaving the viewer with a half understood story and little or no explanation. Very much worth a watch.

How Americans Changed The Meaning Of ‘Dream’
My favorite blog, Atlas Obscura, was sponsored by a mattress maker this week, and while that sounds odd… it’s actually produced some great articles centered around sleep. This one in particular, explores how a single idea can shift the definition of a single word.

WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

List Of Unexplained Sounds
“The following is a list of unidentified, or formerly unidentified, sounds. All of the sound files in this article have been sped up by at least a factor of 16 to increase intelligibility by condensing them and raising the frequency from infrasound to a more audible and reproducible range.”

H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

Out Of The Aeons
A strange mummy is discovered on a mysterious island and put on display in a museum in Boston, but after several attempts are made to rob the corpse some bizarre things begin to happen.

GIF OF THE WEEK:

This Island Vincent

The Beauty of the Standalone

The Beauty In The Standalone

I watched Whiplash the other day and I absolutely loved it. In my opinion, it should have won best picture. Miles Teller and J. K. Simmons are fantastic and Damien Chazelle’s storytelling is superb. In many ways, it’s a fantastic example of the perfect story. It didn’t have thirty minutes of slow character introduction and back story like so many of the superhero movies leading the box office these days. It didn’t have a long drawn out ending that wrapped everything up in a nice little package. It was succinct. It was sharp. It was alive. It left a lot to the imagination. It was beautiful.

Whiplash is a great example for what I am about to dive into. You see, several times at recent conventions, during discussions of favorite books, I have had people tell me that they only read books in a series. That is unfortunate. There are a lot of great books out there, and many of them are standalone novels. But I’ve heard this sentiment many times, and I think this kind of thinking tends to prevail within the speculative fiction market. Many novels get thrust into a series when they would have been better off remaining a single work. Sci-fi and fantasy publishers tend to be looks for writers who want to work on a series, especially in the YA market. Take a look at this list of the purported “Top 25 Fantasy Novels” only three are stand alone books (Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Robert Jackson Bennet’s City Of Stairs, and Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.)

Some of this is a reaction to the marketplace. Publishers want to sell a bunch of books and people clearly love supporting a series. They love the long story. They enjoy following characters from one book to the next. The odds are high that someone who loves the first book will come back to the second. As a reader, author, and a publisher, I completely understand. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the series as a concept. I love reading them. Hell, I’m writing one. But, I think as fans of speculative fiction we need to be willing to embrace the standalone novel as quickly as we embrace the series. Not every sci-fi and fantasy story should be three, six, or twelve novels long to catch our interest. Like Whiplash we should have vibrant stories that are told in one succinct volume. We should allow for stories that leave us wondering and send our imagination spinning. We should be eager to support those books as quickly as we support a series. Think back to some of the classics speculative fiction authors: Isaac Asimov, Octavia Butler, Philip K. Dick, and the likes of Alfred Bester. Some of their best work was standalone novels. There’s a beauty in the standalone. And as fans of sci-fi and fantasy, it’s important to remember that.

How about you? What is your favorite standalone sci-fi or fantasy novel? Why not leave a reply and let us know in the comments!